SJHA Student Efe Davenport Wins Warren Christopher Scholarship

O’Melveny Awards Warren Christopher Scholarships to 15 Outstanding Los Angeles Students

June 01, 2018

Fifteen Students Selected from 116 Area High Schools Will Receive $20,000 in College Scholarships

LOS ANGELES—June 1, 2018—Fifteen outstanding Los Angeles Unified School District high school sophomores will receive $20,000 in college scholarships at the annual Warren Christopher Scholarship Awards luncheon today at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

For a quarter-century, O’Melveny has been awarding Warren Christopher Scholarships to exceptional LAUSD sophomores who embody the spirit of the late O’Melveny Chairman and former US Secretary of State, a tireless champion of higher education opportunities for disadvantaged students. This year’s Scholars were selected from among 116 nominees whose schools recognized their academic promise, record of community service, and financial need. Their inspiring stories of achievement in the face of adversity appear below.

The best measure of the success of the program to date is that all 200-plus Scholars in the program have graduated from high school, and well over 90% have gone on to graduate college and pursue rewarding careers. These statistics far outmatch local and national rates generally, and especially among the communities the program serves.

“We want to extend our warm congratulations to the 15 outstanding students who earned Warren Christopher Scholarship Awards this year,” said O’Melveny Chair Brad Butwin. “It is a true honor to recognize these special individuals for their many accomplishments. We look forward to supporting them in the years to come as they pursue their goals and join our extended community of scholars past and present.”

“Our Scholars are remarkable young people, with enormous talent and energy. Our hope—borne out by past successes—is that this scholarship will help remove some obstacles to their clearly deserved lifelong success,” added Matt Kline, an O’Melveny partner who chairs the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee. “This group has overcome a great deal, and we hope that this strong vote of confidence in their future, as well as the financial support and network of support services we provide the Scholars, will make a lasting impact.”

The Warren Christopher Scholarship program, which represents O’Melveny’s commitment to support promising high school students during their college careers, is managed by the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee and the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles. Since its inception, the program has awarded $6.2 million in college scholarships to more than 250 Los Angeles-area students.

Scholars must graduate from an LAUSD high school and attend college to claim their scholarship awards. While most other scholarship programs target students in their senior year of high school, the Warren Christopher Scholarship program is unique in recognizing rising academic stars in the 10th grade. The goal is to motivate the scholars to excel throughout high school and to attend and graduate from college. Each scholar receives $5,000 a year during his or her four years in college to help cover tuition and other educational expenses.

Warren Christopher scholars have gone on to attend and graduate from some of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, MIT, Brown, Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and almost all of the UC schools. Many scholars are now teachers, public servants, doctors, and lawyers.

Belinda Davenport
Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academy – Social Justice Humanitas Academy

Belinda “Efe” Davenport is the youngest of 10 children being raised by a single mom, who Efe calls the strongest woman she knows. As one of the only black families living in Idaho, Efe witnessed violence and racism, which fueled her desire to be a criminal defense lawyer so she can be a voice for the traumatized and help deliver justice to those who may not otherwise receive it. One of her school administrators called Efe a “true civil servant and a beacon of hope and strength.” She often buys food to share with the homeless, wanting to pay back the kindness others have shown to her family. She says that kindness can be as small as smiling at a panhandler instead of pretending you don’t see them. Her teachers and counselors praise her compassion and generosity, saying, “Efe is known for her gratitude, always taking advantage of the opportunities put in front of her, help received, or even just the fact she gets to go to school.”

To read more about the Warren Christopher 2018 Scholarship winners go to O’Melveny Awards Press Release